Hello, my dearest friends. Hope you’re all fine and dandy. I, once again, drew blank about what to review for today and asked for suggestions over Twitter, and decided to go with Monster and the Beast. Two of the suggestions were titles I’ve already written about, others were titles I’m keeping up with and I’ll eventually talk about them as well.
However, there are two reasons why I picked Monster and the Beast. Firstly, I just recently finished volume 3 so my memory is fresh. The second would be to let you know that this year, Renji will be the guest of honor at Fujocon! Last year it was Scarlet Beriko and Makuno; it was a marvelous experience being able to watch the artists draw while talking about anything and everything. I’m pretty excited for this year as well! While summer slowly but surely approaches and we are gradually closer to seeing Renji, let us talk about their ongoing BL series Monster and the Beast.
Title: Monster and the Beast
Author & Artist: Renji
Status: Ongoing, 3 volumes released.
Where to read: You can find buying options on Yen Press’ website!
One could say that Cavo and Liam are inverted versions of each other. One’s beautiful on the outside and the other inside, while one is a monster on the outside and the other a beast inside. Witnessing an unfortunate event in the forest urges Cavo to step in despite he keeps himself hidden away from humans as much as possible and that marks the beginning of Cavo’s first proper interaction with a human, a middle-aged man called Liam.
It’s his first because doesn’t matter if he was trying to approach them or was just minding his business in the forest, people would always scream and run away at the sight of Cavo. And Liam already sets himself apart from the rest of the humans by not doing that, and their further conversation pops perfectly valid questions up in Cavo’s mind: Is this man perhaps hit in the head? Is he sane? Does he have to stand so close to Cavo all the damn time?
The signs should be clear by now but Monster and the Beast belongs in the jingai subgenre, meaning it depicts a human x non-human relationship. If you think that may make you uncomfortable, now is the time for you to look away although I have to say it’s one of the fluffiest, sweetest titles I’ve recently read. Renji’s clean and definite lines, interesting and easy-to-recognize character designs with sharp angles are some of the many strengths this series has. The cover of the 3rd volume was one of the earliest Tuesday Cover I’ve shared and its simplicity has been captivating to me ever since.
There was, however, a bigger reason that I rushed to get the volumes. When I was compiling my Older Men in BL thread, Liam was suggested by a couple of people as their favorite old man, how could I stop myself from getting a copy. That was a life and death situation right there. And I’ve got to hand it to them, Liam does fit into the “looks like a cinnamon roll but could kill you” category and I love him for it. No wonder Cavo does too.
While their companionship slowly changing shape is one of the main focuses in the story, that’s not all there is. It’s also a journey where we get to see different places through the two. We’re also slowly getting to learn Liam’s backstory and why he’s wanted by the royals, which allows the reader to get a better grasp of the political and societal background of the world. All in all, I find it fun to read travel stories as they are never short on surprises or interesting events. Plus, Liam and Cavo get to know each other better. It’s a win for everyone!
The series also manages to portray Liam and his high sexual drive without shaming or punishing him. There are times when things take an unexpected turn and might bring trouble, but it’s more rewarding and pleasurable than it is a danger. He’s someone who needs that physical intimacy and with varying partners preferably, who needs his space and freedom to choose. A cold disregard for others usually accompanies characters who keep their distance, however, Liam is very kind and considerate. It’s a pleasure to read such a main character!
What did you think of Monster and the Beast if you’ve read it? Let me know in the comments! If you haven’t and would be interested in a story where the main characters keep a casual dynamic between, prefer slow progress and a focus broader than will they/won’t they, Monster and the Beast might be for you! Hoping I managed to sound convincing, I wish you a great day and a happy weekend!
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